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The state is apparently re-writing some of the guidelines to a new policy set by Gov. Janet Mills that allows out-of-state visitors to avoid a 14-day quarantine if they can show that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of their visit.
The Portland Press Herald reported that the guidelines written on the Maine Center for Disease Control “frequently asked questions” webpage regarding the use of public transit such as island ferries were removed because they confused some transit operators and state transit agencies.
Mills announced the policy change on Monday, saying that it would keep Mainers safe from coronavirus while allowing more businesses to open during tourism season. The plan will increase symptom checks at sites where visitors tend to go. It earmarks $13 million in state funds to help communities implement their own plans to help stop coronavirus. The state also released an app, which is available online but is still being improved, that lets tourists pledge that they have met testing requirements and check regularly for coronavirus symptoms.
Maine CDC spokesman Robert Long told the Press Herald that his agency “has removed the item about using public transportation to travel to quarantine in Maine from its COVID-19 FAQ and is working to update the guidance within the coming days in order to provide more clarity for Maine travelers.”
Mills had issued an executive order two months ago mandating that all out-of-state visitors must quarantine for 14 days or face a misdemeanor charge. On Monday, Mills substituted what she called The Keep Maine Healthy plan. Effective July 1, it allows visitors to avoid quarantine, but also stipulates that visitors who cannot show a negative test result within 72 hours must agree to quarantine in Maine for 14 days or show that they already have completed their quarantine in the state.
Mills’ new plan, which presented the plan as an effort to stay safe while allowing businesses to operate, has drawn criticism from Steve Hewins, president and CEO of the industry group Hospitality Maine. Hewins said the testing scheme will deter visitors as much as the quarantine has.
Watch: What Maine is doing to expand contact tracing